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The Greatest Showman: why a week is never a long time in advertising – Matt Scheckner, Global CEO, Advertising Week

About This Episode

This week, Michael is joined by Lord Matt Scheckner, founder and CEO of Advertising Week, the premier global gathering for the creative industries, renowned for its flagship events in New York, London, Tokyo, Sydney, Mexico City and Johannesburg. Matt’s early career included the role of executive director of sports for the City of New York, aged just 23, which set him on the path to his role today, hosting major events around the world. In this interview, the master networker also shares his advice on how to not be fearful in challenging times and the story behind the (in)famous Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.

Matt Scheckner

Matt Scheckner is CEO of Stillwell Partners, a New York City-based boutique consultancy. Stillwell is best known as the producer of Advertising Week, the world’s largest creative industries summit. Matt’s signature recipe of blending thought leadership with one-of-a-kind evening experiences for the entire industry ecosystem propels Advertising Week. In addition, with Stillwell he produces the annual Nathan’s 4th of July Hot Dog Eating Contest which includes a one hour ESPN broadcast. Matt has served on the Board of Governors of the Friars Club and is active with many causes, including War Child, Comic Relief UK, London’s Roundhouse and Tuesday’s Children.

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Lockdown List

What is a book that has changed your life?

Early on in my career I read Peter Ueberroth’s Made in America when that was a much less complex title and it was just a quintessential story about entrepreneurship and giving back, I have great admiration for Peter and later in my career got to meet him and he was terrific. The job he and the late Harry Usher did running the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games really made the modern-day sports business in so many ways.

What are you watching in lockdown?

Re-watching The Sopranos, turned out to be a great choice. 20+ years old and I don’t remember just enough to make it magical, again.

In one sentence, describe your new normal.

Well, it’s a game of re-invention, re-imagination and it’s all remarkably invigorating. We, like so many others, have been challenged to fast track elements of our business that were lesser priorities; invent completely new components; and all the while stay true to our commitment to elevating the experience, irrespective of the medium.

Who is your biggest inspiration?

My kids. I’m adopted so the only true blood relatives I have are my son Benny and my daughter Eliza. Their resilience, positive spirit and heart are beyond inspirational.

What is your best tip for life?

Take care of yourself, or you are no good to anyone else. That’s actually being self-less, not the opposite. The real measure of a life is the impact we are able to make on others, a notion borrowed from Nelson Mandela. To achieve the most you can for others, you have to first put yourself in position to fire on all cylinders.

Top 5 lockdown tracks

Booker T. & the M.G.’s / Time Is Tight

Bob Marley & The Wailers / Zimbabwe

The Kinks / Waterloo Sunset

Peter Tosh / Pick Myself Up

Sam Cooke / Chain Gang

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